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Audio performance

As said earlier, PowerDVD 3.0 is still the KING of Audio support. No matter WHAT obscure sound system your PC may have, PowerDVD probably supports it! Aureal, SB Live, Yamaha, Q-Xpander, MS Directsound, SP/DIF output for amplifiers, Dolby Headphones!

As with previous builds, the audio was very tight and clear. Sharp highs, almost ear shattering when you have the volume up and hear glass break! I tried Both SB LIVE and the Diamond MX300, and they sounded very similar in most modes. My FAVORITE sound mode for PowerDVD is the A3D mode that is offered for Vortex soundcards. It seems to be a bit tighter on 3D effects, the Bass is less blurred, and the Highs remain clear. DirectSound mode is a slight improvement, but my preference is either A3D (on Vortex cards) or the 4-Speaker mode which seems to give the best feel.

SPATIALIZATION is where you HEAR sounds directionally. If a character walks across the screen, you expect to hear his footsteps or voice follow him from left to right with the sounds moving from the left to right speaker. BUT, what if a character is talking OFF-SCREEN or BEHIND the camera? Hearing so you can TELL he is off-screen is SPATIALIZATION! A3D is designed for this, but A3D was written for 2 speakers or headphones, so it actually FAKES rear sounds on 2 speakers. It does not really separate 4 or 6 ways like a true surround system. DirectSound 3D is similar, a simulated 3d experience. 4-Speaker mode is not limited to FAKING front/rear depth because you actually have rear speakers to play different sounds than the front speakers for truer 3D.

PowerDVD gives a pretty good spatialization feel in 4 speaker mode. There seem to be distinct sounds on all 4 speakers, and if you close your eyes and listen, you can identify location much better than most 2-speaker only players. Software based surround will never compete with a true surround amplifier/speaker system. Surround amp systems add in more channels(Up to 8!) and DTS sound as an option! But such systems are expensive, and difficult to set up. Players like PowerDVD and WinDVD do a fine job with their software surround. PowerDVD is very clear, and can fully immerse you in sound to give a true movie experience. Good job! Their sound is NEAR perfect...

HOWEVER, one MAJOR sound issue must be mentioned: Where is the LFE?!?!

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